05 Sep Do toys belong in the dog park? Ask Rover Achievers.
There’s been an interesting discussion going on facebook about whether toys belong in a dog park – especially the smaller parks where there’s not enough space for guarders, thieves and toy-obsessed dogs to coexist. Being a dog walker in downtown Toronto, we are no stranger to enclosed areas, but out of all of us, the one that frequents them the most is Matt. If you get to know Matt, you can see why he’s got the high-energy large dogs in his group – he’s strong, athletic and can whip a ball from one end of the park to another. Not only do his dogs love to retrieve, but they also love to play and meet other dogs so enclosed areas are a natural fit for this friendly bunch. Matt does a beautiful job engaging his dogs in play wherever they end up. When I took this photo they were all playing at Winston Churchill with some toy he found lying around. I was the only one that knew it’s not even a dog toy (a pod is an exercise tool for the two-legged), but the dogs didn’t seem to care, with Matt’s enthusiasm, any toy is fun. Matt also knows how to keep things safe. He can read doggie body language and keep things under control even when he’s got a big group of excited k9’s.
I think enclosed dog parks without toys are boring. Without a tree to sniff or a trail to wander, the dogs need something to do and retrieving is the perfect solution and an excellent way to tire them out. Not every dog is a big player with other dogs and that’s ok but every dog deserves a place to play their favourite game. So I vote YES to toys but that’s probably because I have high expectations of dogs. We also have over 40 dogs on our roster that have proved that they can learn to drop and share.